It’s been one of those sunny ‘thinking days’ for me today,
and I’ve found myself reminiscing……
In 1996, just after I qualified as Primary School teacher, I arranged for my school to take part in a BBC ‘Tomorrow’s World’ study. They were trying to prove, or disprove, ‘The Mozart Effect’: a theory which claims that, after being exposed to Mozart’s music, alterations happen in the physical make-up of the brain to make the listener ‘cleverer’ or ‘more perceptive’, and overall to maybe even raise a person’s IQ.
Quick explanation ….. (feel free to skip this paragraph, if you’re in a hurry and don’t need extra details:) : In our study we asked children aged 11 years to take a non-verbal reasoning test. After this they were divided into 3 groups: to either listen to Mozart, listen to Oasis (! it was 1996) or sit in a silent room. After 15 minutes listening, the children then took a second non-verbal reasoning test, and their scores were compared.
The results in my school matched the national findings on the BBC, for this particular study …… which amazingly showed the greatest increase in IQ levels was found to be in the group of children who listened to ‘Oasis’!! Since that study, no-one has renamed it ‘The Oasis Effect’ so I think it’s fair to say that the study, like many others, had to come to a different conclusion. The brains of the 11 year olds taking part were being stimulated by something that interested them; the music created emotions and feelings which raised their levels of alertness and interest – levels that remained raised even after the listening had finished, which enabled them to complete a task to a higher level of ability.
So maybe for some of us this would happen after listening to Mozart? Maybe anything that we perceive as ‘engaging’ would have the same
desired effects …… athletes certainly use it to their advantage before their event, as we saw in last years’ Olympics time and again: with swimmers and runners wearing earphones, prior to their ‘event’.
I wonder if I found the 11 year olds …… now 28 year olds (!) ….. from my old school, and played them Oasis, would it have the same effect? 🙂
“Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything” ~ Plato